A disruption of flights has been reported in parts of Nigeria, as haze has forced diversion of international flights to neighboring countries of Ghana and Benin.
For instance, flights scheduled to land at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, are being diverted to airports where visibility is better.
As a result of the harmattan, passengers on the domestic flights are also experiencing disruptions in travel plans.
The Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA), confirmed on Thursday the diversion of British Airways and Air France flights to Accra and Cotonou respectively.
Commenting on the development, NATCA President, Mr Abayomi Agoro, expressed worry and urged the appropriate agencies to upgrade navigational aids at the airports.
“The Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA) notes with displeasure the unwholesome event unfolding at the Murtala International Airport, amongst which was the diversion of British Airways and Air France flights to Accra and Cotonou respectively.“The sad event was occasioned by poor visibility and haze, but more worryingly accentuated by the degraded state of navigational and landing facilities due to lack of calibration.
“We are equally concerned with the untold hardship the situation has visited on our members working in Lagos Terminal Approach position, whose statutory responsibility is to ensure a round the clock safety in taking off and landing.
“In as much as we sincerely appreciate government’s huge investment in the upgrade of aviation infrastructure in the sector, NATCA is nevertheless concerned about the perennial state of degradation of the essential facilities and working tools with attendant increased stress and workload which in practical terms translate to serious safety implications for the flying public,” he said in a statement.
It added: “NATCA therefore urges the relevant authorities to take immediate steps to restore the full serviceability of the navigational and landing aids, to ensure an effective end to the uncalled hitches recently experienced and prevent the re-occurrence of same.“This is not the time to apportion blames, but it must be emphasized that the time has come for all hands to be on deck to ensure seamless safety regime and prompt navigational services.
“May we also use this medium to assure the flying public of our competence and preparedness to work with airlines and aviation stakeholders to ensure safety in our airspace.”